Keto vs Low-Carb – What’s the Difference?

As more and more people are working on getting healthier, there are two diets that have been making the rounds on our news feeds; keto and low carb. At first glance, you may be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t keto low carb?” “How low carb can you go?” “Is there even a difference?” Absolutely there is! Both keto and low carb diets lead to incredible results with great benefits. But there are a few differences that set them apart. So, let’s break them down so you can decide which one is best for you.  


I’ll start with the trendy keto diet first. Known for rapid weight loss and a means to manage diabetes, the ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. Low carb meaning you are restricted to 20 net carbs a day. So that sweet potato you like, yea scratch that.  

  The macronutrients break down to 5% of calories coming from carbs, 25% of calories coming from protein, 70% of calories coming from fat – in the end, the amount will be different for every body type. This is one of the things I like most about keto. There is a science to it, and it’s geared to your body, weight, and goals.  


The big difference between low carb and keto is ketosis; a fat-burning metabolic state where you use fat as your main energy source. This is the ultimate goal in keto. The benefits being weight loss. But it doesn’t just stop there. Following a ketogenic diet and getting into ketosis also leads to increased energy levels, stable blood sugar; which is great for people looking to control their glucose levels, decreased inflammation, clearer skin, reduced sugar cravings, better mental clarity, and mood, and decreased hunger.  


Since the keto diet consists of 70% fat (healthy fats like avocado, butter, eggs, and fatty meats), you are eating meals that satiate you and keep you fuller longer, oftentimes leading you to pass on those midafternoon snacks.  


Now, let’s dive into low carb. It is less restrictive than keto and is an alternative for people who don’t want to cut out carbs so drastically. Low carb diets range from 20 -60 grams a day, according to sources like Mayo Clinic. Unlike keto, people who follow a low carb diet don’t have to worry about limiting their protein or tracking their fat intake because reaching a state of ketosis is not the main goal.  


The only real restriction is to eat low carb. Seems perfect if you are not into strict guidelines. But because it’s so vague it can be hard to tell if you are burning fat and can also lead to weight gain if you consume too much protein when compensating for that hungry feeling since you’re eating less sugar. Too much protein can turn into glucose –  aka sugar. So, it’s important to have a solid plan if you are considering following a low carb diet.  

There are fewer rules when following a low carb diet and a lot of people who follow a keto diet start out as low carb to ease their way into it. If you feel that keto may be too restrictive and hard to sustain, low carb might be for you. If you are ambitious and thrive on clear guidelines and rules, then keto may be for you. Either way, lowering your carb intake leads to many benefits. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s right for you; something you can sustain and enjoy doing. Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Listen to your body and have fun feeding it what you need to get you through your day.  




Rachel Morales is an entrepreneur born and raised in NY. She is a married mother of 2 who understands the struggles that come with making healthy food choices. As a blogger sharing her ketogenic lifestyle and recipes, Rachel‘s passion is to encourage others on their health and wellness journey. She finds healthy substitutions, shares tips and tricks, and is your personal taste tester, trying new foods to give them the green light.  You can follow her on Instagram @Its_keto_sis for more ideas and support.